Nazanin 'needs urgent mental health treatment' after 'torture', experts say

Richard Ratcliffe with his and Nazanin's daughter Gabriella outside the Iranian Embassy

Richard Ratcliffe with his and Nazanin's daughter Gabriella outside the Iranian Embassy - Credit: Polly Hancock

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is in "urgently in need" of treatment for serious mental health illnesses as a result of "torture and ill-treatment" at the hands of the Iranian authorities. 

Late last year Nazanin was extensively interviewed and examined by medical experts on behalf of the International Council for the Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ICRT). 

In a report sent to foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Prof Dr Michele Heisler and Dr Lilla Hardi wrote that Nazanin is suffering from "serious and chronic" post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in addition to a number of physical problems. 

On the back of the report, legal charity REDRESS - which has represented Nazanin - again called for the UK government to recognise that Nazanin had been tortured. 

Drs Heisler and Hardi 77-page report concludes that Nazanin's medical symptoms are "highly consistent" with the allegation that she has been tortured.

They also write that psychological and physical conditions that Nazanin experienced while in prison have continued during her time under house arrest as "the continuing uncertainty of her fate creates a sense of permanent threat leading to constant pain and suffering”.

On Sunday Nazanin faces a new court hearing with regard to a second case - which has been held over her repeatedly during her time trapped in Iran.

Richard on the steps of the Iranian Embassy to demand Nazanin's return

Richard on the steps of the Iranian Embassy to demand Nazanin's return - Credit: Polly Hancock

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On Friday morning, Richard Ratcliffe said it would take “a long time” for his wife to recover from the psychological trauma of her ordeal, but that continuing media coverage had “kept her a bit safer”.

Earlier this week, Richard and the couple's daughter Gabriella delivered a petition to the Iranian Embassy in Knightsbridge demanding Nazanin was allowed to return to the UK.

Rupert Skilbeck, director of REDRESS, said: "Based on this new evidence, the UK government should publicly acknowledge that Nazanin is a victim of torture in Iran, and do everything in its power to protect her from further harm.

“Despite the efforts that have been made by the FCDO, the UK government’s policy has ultimately failed to protect Nazanin from torture."

Mr Skilbeck said the UK government needs to re-evaluate its strategies to protect British citizens who are detained abroad from suffering torture.

On Wednesday Boris Johnson raised Nazanin's case with the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

A Downing Street spokesperson said: "[The prime minister] said that while the removal of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s ankle monitor was welcome, her continued confinement remains completely unacceptable and she must be allowed to return to her family in the UK.”

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